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Julian Bolton, he’s our man

Outgoing commissioner is our choice for U.S. Congress... Outgoing commissioner is our choice for U.S. Congress

The Tri-State Defender officially endorses Shelby County Commissioner Julian Taylor Bolton for U.S. Congressman representing the 9th District. Commissioner Bolton has, in our opinion, evidenced himself as a committed servant of the people of Memphis and Shelby County. He has been an unwavering advocate of education, health care and economic development.

During his many years of service on the Shelby County Commission and as a highly respected practicing attorney, Commissioner Bolton’s integrity has remained above reproach. During our interview and in subsequent conversations, we found Bolton very informed on both national issues, including universal health care and the war in Iraq, and economic issues such as the minimum and living wages.

A long-time resident of Memphis and Shelby County, Commissioner Bolton is positioned to have a clear understanding of issues facing residents of the area.

This year’s 9th Congressional District race is shaping up to be the most pivotal race in Shelby County history. The fact that no clear favorite readily emerged to assume the seat being vacated by Harold Ford Jr., is the subject of much controversy and conjecture.

Once it was confirmed that Congressman Ford would not seek reelection to a sixth consecutive term, a rush of aspirants began seeking the office. The field is diverse, some of the candidates have virtually no political experience, others have long been community activists and still others have held elected offices for years.

Tri-State Defender has chosen not to make endorsements in all the races before the electorate. However, in the instance of the U.S. House of Representative seat, given the large number of candidates and the obvious dilemma facing voters, we are compelled to share our insight and recommendation on this particular race.

As indicated from the outset, we firmly believe the 9th Congressional District should be represented by an African American. We make no apologies for that position and reject any accusations of “reverse racism” coming from those who are either attempting to confuse the issue or simply have no real appreciation for what is at stake.

Two weeks ago we interviewed as many of the candidates as responded to our solicitation. They were first asked to complete a questionnaire, giving information on their background, their perceived qualifications for the office, their views on national issues, and their vision for the future of Shelby County via the United States Congress.

As we also pointed out, the successful candidate should possess 1) an in-depth awareness of the district’s needs and sensitivity toward addressing those needs; 2) a commitment to working and bringing resolution to the issues and problems facing a predominantly African-American district; and, 3) the candidate should be electable.

We initially narrowed the field of office seekers to four. Those four candidates were: Commissioner Bolton, entertainment lawyer Joseph Ford Jr., businessman Marvell Mitchell, and FedEx senior attorney Edward Stanton III.

Each of the candidates in the “final four” brought credentials and capabilities to bear that made them serious candidates for our endorsement. We are confident that each of them (should they choose to pursue service to the community beyond this election) will prove to be of great value to Memphis and Shelby County. We are pleased and sincerely believe the 9th district is fortunate to have such a credible group of candidates from whom to choose to represent us throughout this decade and hopefully, beyond.

In light of the research and interviews we have conducted, we encourage all our readers to go to the polls and vote Julian Taylor Bolton for U.S. Congress.

Bolton enjoys broad support…

9th district candidate Julian Bolton enjoys support from a broad spectrum of the Memphis and Shelby County community. Shown here with him at the annual St. Peter’s Picnic is Catholic Bishop Terry Steib © and District Attorney General Bill Gibbons.

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